After about a year away, I headed back to Paradiso 37 in Orlando’s Downtown Disney recently to see what was new with the menu!
Since my last lunch there, there have been a few menu changes and updates, so let’s take a look!
The goal of Paradiso 37 is to offer an upscale, though casual and comfortable, dining experience, and I think it does a good job of that.
Personally, I love to visit Paradiso 37 during the quieter hours of the day when the sunshine is streaming in through the massive windows. While the evening features a fun nightlife vibe with live music and a hip crowd, the afternoon is laid back, and it’s easy to snag a table!
I was very interested to see that not much had changed about the inside of the restaurant since I was last there. You still have that fantastic floor-to-ceiling tequila bar that tells you THIS is a GREAT place for drinks…especially if you’re a fan of all things margarita like me!
One question we had when visiting: is Paradiso 37 appropriate for children? After all, it’s in the middle of what used to be a nightclub district. But they assured me that they welcome children at all times of the day (this is Disney, after all).
If you want to ensure the family-friendly vibe, visit during the day like we did, or sit in the upper dining area, which offers a quieter dining experience.
Some of the restaurant’s most fantastic features are its outdoor seating options. There are two — one facing the Village Lake (the fabulous body of water that borders all of Downtown Disney and makes for such nice, breezy evenings) and one facing the walkway in the front of the restaurant. You get to choose between “peaceful,” and “see and be seen!”
My preference is the one by the lake, sitting close to the restaurant. There is a sheltered indoor/outdoor seating option that gives you just enough air conditioning combined with fresh air.
However, if you prefer full-on outdoor seating, they have you covered there, too. The outdoor patio is a fantastic spot, with views of Saratoga Springs, the Sassagoula River, and the Lake. This upper outdoor seating area is directly over the water and is shady and breezy.
Since my past recommendation with this restaurant was to stick with the amazing appetizers, drinks, and desserts, I was looking forward to sampling one of the newer entrees this time.
And speaking of eats and drinks, it’s clear that Paradiso 37 is well regarded for its grand selection of tequila from the soaring tequila bar pictured above. But if you’re less about the tequila and more about the cerveza, they have you what you’re looking for there, too! The restaurant boasts that it serves the world’s coldest draft beer – always holding steady at a cool 29 degrees or slightly below!
And how do you know that they’re making good on their claim? You can keep track their handy digital thermometer mounted on the wall and linked to the temp gauge at the bar, which read “27.8˚” on this particularly steamy day. Nice.
Mojitos were the featured drink during my visit, and I loved this clever chalkboard which listed all of the fun varieties to be had.
The drink menu and dessert menu show some of the really unique flavors that you can find here, like Agua Fresca, and the fantastic Mangled Margarita (which I tempted you with on my last visit).
Since the P 37 theme is “A Taste of the Americas,” you’ll find specialties that call to mind favorites from North, Central, and South Americas.
We found that many of the same items appeared on the menu as we have seen in previous visits, but there seems to be more attention to presentation, and there are a few lighter options as well as some pretty tempting burgers.
After some deliberation, we decided to start with a favorite of mine and a Paradiso classic, the Mexican Dipping Trio. Comprised of house made chips and three dips: chili, guacamole made from scratch, and a flavorful spinach queso. As you would expect, the creamy, melty, cheesy queso was the clear winner here for me.
Another great dipping option is the salsa, which is made in house. The fire-roasted, tomato-based salsa isn’t the chunky variety, but it has just the right amount of kick to make it a great accompaniment. It’s proven so popular, in fact, that the restaurant will be bottling and selling it in the very near future.
I also sampled the Mac and Cheese Bites. Creamy morsels of mac and cheese are breaded and deep-fried to make this little indulgence. They were very good, and drove home the casual, approachable feel of the menu.
Once we had our fill of the appetizers (sadly, I didn’t get my beloved Crazy Corn this time…definitely next time!), it was time to dig into my entree.
I chose the Pineapple Bacon Burger, because I’d never had a sweet-savory burger before. From the menu, this one seemed to be very simple, and I was intrigued to determine whether or not it could hold up without a lot of sauces and flavorings dressing it up.
As it happens, it could.
It was truly fantastic, and easily one of the best burgers I’ve had anywhere on Disney property. The burger patty itself is a “steak burger,” and combines NY Strip, filet, ribeye, and beef chuck for fantastic flavor.
Add to that the combo of the well-cooked bacon and the grilled pineapple, and you have quite a tasty situation! I was actually really impressed by the sweetness of the grilled pineapple and how it paired with that salty bacon.
The flavors were so awesome that the sandwich didn’t need a sauce at all. It would have been overkill.
I also got the chance to try some of Paradiso 37′s flavored fries. I’m seeing these on more and more menus, but usually there aren’t so many different varieties.
Here, there are two offerings in addition to the regular flavor: truffle and wasabi. The truffle fries are dusted with a truffle essence, and aren’t overpowering or too strong.
Likewise, the wasabi fries were really pleasant! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the flavors weren’t overwhelming here either; just interesting, with that slightly sharp, pungent bite that you get only from this vibrant cousin to horseradish. I liked them a lot!
Soon, it was time to try dessert, and the attentive staff prepared a special sampler for us to try a little of everything. As always, the Paradiso desserts were a home run.
The center Pineapple Upside Down Cake was very good: moist, not too sweet, with a perfect texture. The P 37 take on Tres Leches is a unique one: the cake is soaked in sweet milk, but is then layered with strawberry mousse and topped with a toasted marshmallow-like meringue.
But the star of the dessert menu for me, without a doubt, is the Paradiso Chocolate Stack! It’s supposed to be cake layered with mousse, but if there is cake involved here, it is truly the richest, most decadent chocolate cake I have ever experienced. This stuff seems like straight up fudge. And it’s a darker chocolate taste, so if you’re not a bittersweet fan, you might skip this one.
The fresh churros and sopapillas, with their crisp, sugary outside and tender inside, are delicious as well, served with caramel and sugar dipping sauces.
Once again, I have thoroughly enjoyed whiling away the lazy afternoon hours at Paradiso 37. The menu enhancements that we experienced make the entrees a much more viable option than on previous visits, though I’m pretty sure there are enough incredible apps on the menu that you could easily share several of those and be perfectly happy.
Go hungry and thirsty and plan to stay a while! Whether it’s tapas and drinks that you’re looking for, desserts and coffee, or a full three-course meal, Paradiso 37 will not disappoint.
What are your thoughts about Paradiso 37 and this fun take on a TASTE of the Americas? Will you be including this Downtown Disney Hotspot in an upcoming trip, or have you sample it before?
The owners of Paradiso 37 kindly invited us to sample the new menu. I was under no obligation to write about the restaurant or to review it positively. For additional information, please see our disclosure policy).